x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 February 2018

UAE closes in on creating global halal accreditition network

The halal market worldwide is set to expand but a lack of coherence among accreditation agencies has been a problem. The Dubai-based IHAF aims to address the issue.

A halal certified stamp lies on a make-up table in Birmingham, central England. The UAE is close to creating a global certification network for halal accreditation. darren Staples / Reuters
A halal certified stamp lies on a make-up table in Birmingham, central England. The UAE is close to creating a global certification network for halal accreditation. darren Staples / Reuters

The UAE is nearing its ambition to become the centre of global halal accreditation for a market set to be worth US2.6 trillion by 2020.

The secretary-general’s office of the Dubai-based International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) is close to creating the world’s first halal international accreditation network.

IHAF, the first international accreditation entity based in the UAE, is now finalising the drafting of its by-law that will be discussed by its general assembly in November this year. Following the expected approval of its by- law, IHAF will expand its multi-lateral agreements with major food and product exporting countries.

IHAF’s 10 founding members include Dubai Municipality (Dubai Accreditation Center), Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (Emirates National Accreditation System), American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, Pakistan National Accreditation Council, Entidad Nacional de Acreditacion (Spain), GCC Accreditation Center, Saudi Accreditation Committee, United Kingdom Accreditation Service, Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, and National Council for Accreditation Egypt.

“The rate of growth witnessed in the halal market shows that by 2030 it can be the biggest industry in the world,” said Mohamed Saleh Badri, them secretary general of IHAF.

“However, although halal standards and processes are based on the universal principles and teachings of Islam, the halal industry is yet to use one universal set of determinants and one all-encompassing mark.

“More than a hundred halal marks are currently being used all over the globe. IHAF’s ultimate mission is to unify Halal criteria and halal practices and generate a global agreement among the authorities that would ease the flow of Halal goods between countries and create a halal market consumers can trust,” he added.

According to Reuters, global expenditure on halal food sector alone stood at $1.12tn in 2014 and this is expected to grow to $1.58tn by 2020. The global market for the halal food and lifestyle sector including travel, fashion, media and recreation, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics was valued at $1.8 trillion in 2014. This is estimated to increase up to $2.6tn by 2020.

The halal sector across the world faces structural and operational challenges over regulation, standardisation, compliance, supply chain integrity, innovations, research and development, consumer education and awareness.

“Despite the challenges, the growth rate of halal products and services has been significantly high,” said Mr Badri

“It is high time that a committed global effort among governments and all halal stakeholders be done. It is about time that we establish innovative, reliable compliance schemes that are acceptable to one and all.”

IHAF is an independent, non-government network of accreditation agencies all mandated to enforce halal standards in their countries and regions. It is empowered by its aim to protect the growing number of halal consumers, to facilitate international trade and to establish a solid ground for the global industry of halal food and non-food products.

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